With local content targets on track, Guyana’s private sector wants greater carve-out

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Guyana’s local content secretariat has been operational for less than one year but the body has already achieved some of its initial targets allowing more Guyanese to participate in the nascent, lucrative oil and gas sector.

This is according to the Secretariat’s Head Dr. Martin Pertab, who spoke at the opening of the Guyana Supplier Forum on Tuesday at Leonora, West Coast Demerara.

Pertab reminded that the historic Local Content law, which was enacted last December, sets aside 40 areas- from transportation to legal services- under which Guyanese companies should be used, detailing the percentage requirement by the end of 2022.

Director of the Local Content Secretariat Martin Pertab (Photo: News Room/February 16, 2022)

Pertab said locals are eagerly providing these services and more than 350 local content certificates have been issued, allowing them to readily do so. It is expected that more than 500 will be issued before year-end.

For context, a Guyanese national or Guyanese company issued a certificate by the Secretariat receives preferential treatment in the award of contracts by the oil companies and their subcontractors.

That certificate confirms that the Secretariat is satisfied that the holder of the certificate is a Guyanese national or Guyanese company. Those nationals and companies are included in a local content register.

A representative from local human resource management company, SRSGY, engaging with people at the Supplier Forum (Photo: News Room/ November 8, 2022)

Meanwhile, Pertab also noted that there have been some 1,125 new jobs created in the industry this year, with 858 filled by Guyanese. On another front, a recent release from the Secretariat stated that local content earnings have topped GY$129 billion for this year alone.

With interest high and with these targets being achieved, the local private sector is eager for an expansion in the sectors carved out specifically for Guyanese businesses.

At Tuesday’s forum, it was the Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Paul Cheong, who clearly expressed the interest of the private sector in providing more goods and services in the industry.

“It is time that we expand those 40 categories… The skills of Guyanese are expanding,” Cheong underscored.

The recent release from the Secretariat stated that internal assessments show that Guyanese companies supply goods and services across 37 of the 40 areas ringfenced for nationals.

Cheong, however, believes that if more Guyanese collaborate on business ventures, they will be able to capitalise on many more business opportunities in the sector.

Those business opportunities are expected to multiply significantly in coming years, those gathered at the Supplier Forum heard.

Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil (Guyana), Alistair Routledge, explained that ongoing exploration and production offshore, coupled with the new gas-to-energy project, signal the forthcoming demand for more goods and services.

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